Research in Nicaragua Inspires Two Scientific Papers and a Career Path for Recent YSPH Graduate

Before she even received her diploma, Cara Safon’s research was already having an impact. A study that she conducted while still an M.P.H. student at the Yale School of Public Health led to two published peer-reviewed articles on breastfeeding practices in León, Nicaragua. 

Safon entered the program knowing she wanted to pursue research on maternal-child health, and began seeking out research opportunities in the field. She connected with YSPH Professor Rafael Pérez-Escamilla, Ph.D., who currently leads the Becoming Breastfeeding Friendly (BBF) scaling up initiative, a program that helps guide countries in assessing their readiness to improve breastfeeding protection, promotion and support environments. Together, they devised a research proposal that would examine the connection between delivery mode —natural or Cesarean section—and subsequent breastfeeding outcomes.

Noël Valis, expert in Spanish literature, wins Victoria Urbano Award

Phot of professor Noël Valis

Noël Valis, professor of Spanish in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, has won the Victoria Urbano Academic Achievement Award (Premio Victoria Urbano de Reconocimiento Académico), given by the International Association of Hispanic Women’s Literature and Culture (Asociación Internacional de Literatura y Cultura Femenina Hispánica), for her work in Hispanic women’s and gender studies.

Valis began her research in this field in the 1980s, at the time a fledgling area within Hispanic studies. She co-edited (with Carol Maier) what was to become an influential and widely cited book in Hispanism, “In the Feminine Mode: Essays on Hispanic Women Writers.” She has also rediscovered forgotten or neglected 19th-century Spanish women writers and promoted Hispanic women authors through editorial work, essays, and translation, such as Noni Benegas’s “Burning Cartography,” which won the Best Book Translation Prize from the New England Council of Latin American Studies.


Professor and surgeon leads medical mission to Nicaragua with Hand Help

A smiling doctor and youngster compare the spread of their fingers.

Yes, he was born with the little finger,” answers Jenifer, a pretty young woman with a high, bouncy ponytail, in Spanish when asked about the wriggling baby sitting in her lap. His name is Matias. His chubby arms and legs stick out of a onesie decorated with cars and trucks, and his big brown eyes stare, rarely blinking at the doctors and nurses. He turns six months old today, but he’s big enough to pass for 10 or 11 months old.

Jenifer shows Matias’ right hand to the group: growing alongside his thumb is a second thumb, slightly smaller than the first and moving in conjunction with it. She strokes the top of his hand with her thumb as he grips her index finger with his normal thumb and the extra little finger.

A Diverse Student Team Wins Patagonia Case Competition

A team of Yale School of Management students won first place in the annual Patagonia Case Competition this spring. A June 13 article in Poets and Quants features the students and discusses their experiences in the competition, which spanned four months.

Held in partnership with the University of California-Berkeley Haas School of Business, the annual competition asks students to help Patagonia address an issue of the company’s choice. This year, Patagonia asked how it can help scale regenerative organic agriculture practices.

Sixty-eight student teams originally submitted proposals to Patagonia. Of them, ten were invited to pitch day at Haas, and the top three visited Patagonia. Yale SOM’s team included Nikola Alexandre SOM/FES ’18; Nathan Hall ’17; Nitesh Kumar ’17; Chris Martin SOM/FES ’18; Emily Oldfield, a doctoral student at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Sciences; and Serena Pozza SOM/FES ’18.

Yale School of Medicine expands partnership to promote clinical trials and training in Puerto Rico

An expanded partnership between the Yale School of Medicine and research institutions in Puerto Rico is set to foster collaborative clinical research and training opportunities in the United States and the territory.

The agreement, which began May 1, 2017, expands on a partnership first announced on February 3, 2016, between the School of Medicine, the Yale Center for Clinical Investigation (YCCI), the PuertoRico Science, Technology, and Research Trust (PRSTRT), and the Puerto Rico Consortium for Clinical Investigation(PRCCI)*. The partnership’s goal is to improve the health of Latino people through clinical research and trials, and to train Latinos in Puerto Rico and the United States to become clinical scientists and health services researchers.

Interpreting Maya myths through art: Q&A with Oswaldo Chinchilla Mazariegos

The “old goddess” is a paradoxical character in Maya mythology. She is the grandmother who raised the infant gods, but in most accounts, she hated them, and finally tried to kill them. Despite her significance, she rarely appears in ancient Maya art.

“We find her portraits here and there, but she is not a favorite,” said Oswaldo Chinchilla Mazariegos, assistant professor of anthropology at Yale. “Still, her depictions are consistent with descriptions of old goddesses as patrons of childbirth, midwifery, and the sweat bath — a facility that is still used for pre- and post-partum treatments in Maya communities. Understanding the old goddess is key to understanding Maya mythology.”


Protecting Nature and Indigenous Rights In One of Earth’s Most Diverse Landscapes

painter wallace

You probably wouldn’t expect for the name Gucci to come up in a conversation about landscape conservation in South America. But during a recent interview, Lilian Painter, Bolivia Program Director at the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and the Dorothy S. McCluskey Fellow at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies (F&ES), mentioned the luxury fashion designer while describing efforts to improve livelihoods for the Tacana, an indigenous group living in northwestern Bolivia.
For nearly two decades, the WCS has partnered with the Tacana to help strengthen their territorial rights and enhance indigenous management capacity. Thanks to their efforts and Gucci’s commitment to product sustainability and traceability, Tacana hunters now earn five times more for their caiman skins, which has helped reduce caiman poaching and illegal trade.